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Ahmed Rawanduzy, Anker Hansen, Thomas W. Hansen and Maiken Nedergaard

Several lines of evidence indicate that the extent of ischemic injury is not defined immediately following arterial occlusion; rather that infarction expands over time. Episodes of spreading depression have been linked to this secondary increase in infarct volume. Tissue bordering the infarct fails to repolarize following spreading depression and is incorporated into the infarction. The result is that ischemic infarcts expand stepwise following each episode of spreading depression. Another line of evidence has demonstrated that gap junction blockers effectively inhibit spreading depression.

These observations suggest that the efflux of potentially harmful cytosolic messengers from ischemic cells into surrounding nonischemic cells might cause amplification of injury in focal stroke. It is therefore conceivable that minimizing gap junction permeability might reduce final infarct volume. To test this hypothesis, the authors pretreated rats with the gap junction blocker, octanol, before occluding the middle cerebral artery and compared the sizes of the ischemic lesions to those in rats that received vehicle dimethyl sulfoxide prior to arterial occlusion. Histopathological analysis was performed 24 hours later. The 12 octanol-treated animals showed a significantly decreased mean infarction volume (80 ± 16 mm3) compared with the nine control rats (148 ± 9 mm3). In a separate set of experiments, the frequency of experimentally induced waves of spreading depression was evaluated following octanol treatment. Octanol pretreatment resulted in complete inhibition in two of nine animals, transient inhibition in five of nine, and no inhibition in two of nine.

The results indicate that gap junction inhibitors, when not limited by toxicity, have significant therapeutic potential in the treatment of acute stroke.

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Ahmed Rawanduzy, Anker Hansen, Thomas W. Hansen and Maiken Nedergaard

✓ Several lines of evidence indicate that the extent of ischemic injury is not defined immediately after arterial occlusion, but that infarction expands over time. Episodes of spreading depression have been linked to this secondary increase in infarct volume. Tissue bordering the infarction fails to repolarize following spreading depression and is incorporated into the lesion. The result is that ischemic infarctions expand stepwise after each episode of spreading depression. Another line of evidence has demonstrated that gap junction blockers effectively inhibit spreading depression.

These observations suggest that traffic of potentially harmful cytosolic messengers between ischemic cells and surrounding nonischemic cells might cause amplification of injury in focal stroke. It is therefore conceivable that minimizing gap junction permeability might reduce final infarct volume. To test this hypothesis, the authors pretreated rats with the gap junction blocker, octanol, before occluding the middle cerebral artery and compared the sizes of the ischemic lesions to those in rats that received the vehicle, dimethyl sulfoxide, prior to arterial occlusion. Histopathological analysis was performed 24 hours later. The 12 octanol-treated animals showed a significantly decreased mean infarction volume (80 ± 16 mm3) compared with the nine control rats (148 ± 9 mm3). In a separate set of experiments, the frequency of experimentally induced waves of spreading depression was evaluated after octanol treatment. Octanol pretreatment resulted in complete inhibition in two of nine animals, transient inhibition in five, and no inhibition in two.

The results indicate that gap junction inhibitors, when not limited by toxicity, have significant therapeutic potential in the treatment of acute stroke.

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Benjamin A. Plog, Nanhong Lou, Clifford A. Pierre, Alex Cove, H. Mark Kenney, Emi Hitomi, Hongyi Kang, Jeffrey J. Iliff, Douglas M. Zeppenfeld, Maiken Nedergaard and G. Edward Vates

OBJECTIVE

Cranial neurosurgical procedures can cause changes in brain function. There are many potential explanations, but the effect of simply opening the skull has not been addressed, except for research into syndrome of the trephined. The glymphatic circulation, by which CSF and interstitial fluid circulate through periarterial spaces, brain parenchyma, and perivenous spaces, depends on arterial pulsations to provide the driving force for bulk flow; opening the cranial cavity could dampen this force. The authors hypothesized that a craniectomy, without any other pathological insult, is sufficient to alter brain function due to reduced arterial pulsatility and decreased glymphatic flow. Furthermore, they postulated that glymphatic impairment would produce activation of astrocytes and microglia; with the reestablishment of a closed cranial compartment, the glymphatic impairment, astrocytic/microglial activation, and neurobehavioral decline caused by opening the cranial compartment might be reversed.

METHODS

Using two-photon in vivo microscopy, the pulsatility index of cortical vessels was quantified through a thinned murine skull and then again after craniectomy. Glymphatic influx was determined with ex vivo fluorescence microscopy of mice 0, 14, 28, and 56 days following craniectomy or cranioplasty; brain sections were immunohistochemically labeled for GFAP and CD68. Motor and cognitive performance was quantified with rotarod and novel object recognition tests at baseline and 14, 21, and 28 days following craniectomy or cranioplasty.

RESULTS

Penetrating arterial pulsatility decreased significantly and bilaterally following unilateral craniectomy, producing immediate and chronic impairment of glymphatic CSF influx in the ipsilateral and contralateral brain parenchyma. Craniectomy-related glymphatic dysfunction was associated with an astrocytic and microglial inflammatory response, as well as with the development of motor and cognitive deficits. Recovery of glymphatic flow preceded reduced gliosis and return of normal neurological function, and cranioplasty accelerated this recovery.

CONCLUSIONS

Craniectomy causes glymphatic dysfunction, gliosis, and changes in neurological function in this murine model of syndrome of the trephined.